Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Enemy in the Mirror

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your Faults.”
― Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack*

The Mirror

John Haynes Holmes (November 29, 1879 – April 3, 1964) was a prominent Unitarian minister, pacifist, and co-founder of the NAACP and the ACLU. He is noted for his anti-war activism.

It is on the “anti-war activism” that I will focus.

John Haynes Holmes…published an article in the Christian Century in December 1940 that warned that going to war with the Nazis would not eradicate the spirit of Nazism.

Holmes writes: Christians had long persecuted Jews; whites had long held a view of racial superiority over blacks; Hitler’s were not the first concentration camps – the Spanish over the Cubans, the British over the Boers, the Americans over the Filipinos; Hitler did not invent the idea of the subjection of helpless people – the British in India, France in Morocco, and Belgium in the Congo.

“Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy's staying alive.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Grimsrud, citing Holmes:

“This man, so cruel, so ruthless, so revengeful, is not alien to ourselves.  He is the perversion of our lusts, the poisoned distillation of our crimes.  We would not be so aghast at his appearance did we not see in him, as in a glass darkly, the image of the world that we made.  Our sins have found us, that’s all.”


"The Mirror" is episode 71 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on October 20, 1961 on CBS.

In a Central American dictatorship, Ramos Clemente, and his four lifelong confidants, D'Alessandro, Garcia, Tabal, and Cristo, stage a successful revolution against the regime of General De Cruz….De Cruz also tells Clemente that his ornate mirror has the ability to reveal enemies in its reflection. Clemente initially dismisses De Cruz.

After a week of killings and executions (including of his four lifelong confidants, whom he has seen in the mirror), a priest named Father Tomas asks him to end the executions:

Eventually, Clemente seeks counsel from the priest, but finds no comfort in the priest's response that all tyrants have but one real enemy, whom they never recognize until it is too late. Clemente takes one last, long look in the mirror ... and sees only himself. He picks up his pistol and throws it at the mirror, smashing the glass. The priest, who is standing just outside the office, hears the glass break. As he listens at the door he hears a gunshot. He rushes into Clemente's office and finds Clemente's lifeless body sprawled on the floor, a gun in his hand. "The last assassin," he says, "and they never learn ... they never seem to learn."

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

(* All quotes from Goodreads.)


  1. Anyone who has the slightest understanding of Hitler, the Nazis or world history knows that going to war was not optional.

    1. Lol. Sure guy, gotta help Uncle Joe. We would all be speaking German right now if it was for the necessary and good war, right? Japanese too.

      I suppose the bombing of civilian targets was also necessary. To stop the evil Nazis right?

  2. Hitler is a mythical figure, not a historical one. Churchill for all his flaws never defamed Hitler or WW2 Germany in relation to war crimes and refused to endorse the anti-German propaganda of the Nuremberg show trials. Churchill's six volume "The Second World War" omits the Nuremberg propaganda entirely.

    1. Six volumes and he couldn't find even one thing to say about this most historic event?

      Did no Brits participate in the show trials? Did they go despite Churchill's veto?

  3. BM, as far as I know there are two references to the show trials, none of which were about German war crimes.

    Yes the UK participated in the show trials, and no doubt Churchill would have approved of it had he been Prime Minister at the time. The show trials were in a sense part of the war. However writing after the war Churchill did not mention the German war crimes claimed at Nuremberg, possibly because he did not want to be accused to spreading base propaganda like the WW1 alleged murder of Belgian babies by German soldiers, allegations that were widely mocked post WW1.